Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 09, 2014


Changes are here again! I honestly cannot believe how fast that this change has gone by. Hands down, the fastest change of the mission so far! Wow! But there is good news! I AM STAYING IN PAYSANDÚ!!! Whoop whoop! We have been seeing the hand of the Lord lately in our area! I am feeling so blessed! We are kinda bummed though because Elder Marín is getting transferred. He is heading out to Tacuarembó. He is really excited though and it’s going to be a great experience for him! My new companion calls himself Elder Sifuentes! He is from Peru! He is from my group! Whoop whoop! He actually was my district leader in oeste when I was working in the offices and now is come up as ZL and is so excited! I seriously can’t put into words how excited I am for this change! We are going to work soooo hard! I cannot wait!!! Aaaahh!! The mission is the best!! 

Like I said earlier, we have truly seen the Hand of the Lord in our area this past week. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but wow, this has to have been one of the best weeks of my mission. We have been working a ful with the stake and ward leaders, we are finding really prepared people, the people we have are progressing, and the zone is climbing, the members and missionaries are really feeling that today really is the day! HOY ES EL DÍA!!! And idk, I have just been overcome with this feeling of gratitude this past week. I am so grateful for these two years I have been given to serve and for the chance to make the most of every day. Everyday is a new chance to be better! To improve on what you did yesterday and to become a better servant of the Lord. I have got such an itch to get better! Aaaahh! Its been so awesome how much I have learned this past week! 

This past week we had the chance to go out with Pte Barate from our stake presidency. He is such a stud!! He is a convert of 5 years. Got baptized at 26, went out on his mission at 27, got back at 29, and now 3 years later has his family and work and everything. But what most impressed me about getting to know him is that he has such a love for the gospel. He is so converted to the gospel and it shows in his life. When we went out to teach he was so excited and taught with power and conviction. I remember coming home after finishing the night and just studying my scriptures and preach my gospel with more diligence than I think I ever have. Marked my mission getting the chance to go out and work with him. 

This past week we had the chance to be in the place where we needed to be at the right time. Man, there is nothing better than that.

Also, we had such a great lesson with Lucia this past week. She is the mom of a family we found the past week. We had a lesson with her before but it wasn’t too strong but this past week I went over to her house with Elder Gomez in divisions. He is such a stud. He is still in his training and has really learned a lot from his trainer, Elder Pabon, who is one of the best missionaries that I know. But anyways, we taught about the restoration and she actually realized that she was in her own apostasy. I don’t know if you understand what I mean when I say that but she realized that she was in the dark. And she had been for so long that she stopped looking. She told us that she went to a lot of churches before looking for the truth but just gave up because she never felt like it was right (but she did tell us that when she went to her daughters confirmation in the Mormon Church was the only time she really felt peace in a church ;) ). When we explained about how Christ established His Church and then it was taken from the earth and how the world was during the apostasy, she goes "that is how I feel!" she totally got it!! It clicked! The Spirit taught her that! And then when we talked about Joseph Smith and his experience, she told us that she didn’t have the faith to pray like he did. So we started talking about faith and she realized that she did have faith! I could not have been happier at the end of the lesson. She finally prayed! And at the end she told us "Elders, next time you come to my house, bring a Book of Mormon, I want to read it!" and she asked us to pray for her so that she had enough faith to receive and recognize her answer!! ooohhhh my gosh! I thought I was dreaming! I was on cloud 9 walking out of that house! I never knew that lessons like that existed. I have never been so excited to write in my journal in my life I don’t think. 

Also we found Joaquin and Paula. We saw him teaching his daughter, Francesca, how to walk on the sidewalk and we felt like we should talk to him. Turns out that he had just moved there that day and he invited us to meet his pareja paula and her sister. We taught a little bit about the plan of salvation and set up to come back another day. We went back on Friday and taught about the restoration and it was so great. They are really prepared. Joaquin doesn’t know a lot about religion but he got so excited and was really anxious for us to come back! They are going to progress really fast! 

We had the chance to teach Diva and her family as well as Santiago and his family and a menos activo we have been teaching for a while finally came back to church! Aaaahh!! I could go on and on and on about this past week! I love the mission sooo much! I wish I had time to keep writing about what happened but we have to go to ward council in 15 minutes! 

I love you all! Ill send pictures next week! 

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week! 

UN abrazo grande, 

Elder Staffieri   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 01, 2014


This week has been so great. It has probably been one of the most unique weeks of my mission but it was great. I learned so much and had a blast. This past week we had the Charla Fogonera here in Paysandú so the assistants came up to help prepare. We basically had divisions with the assistants all week long and it was a blast. My comp was Elder Bulloch, who was my zone leader in Artigas. He is such a stud and a blast to be around. We spent all week working with the converts who were going to share their testimonies and traveling to different pueblos to work with all of them. It was such an enriching experience to get to go and meet all of these awesome converts. 

One convert, Karla, got baptized 3 years ago, then got sealed 2 years ago, and is now in the presidency of the sociedad de socorro. She shared her conversion and her testimony of the temple and of her sealing and of family history, tithing, service, etc. At one point, elder Bulloch and I just sat back in awe. She had the strongest testimony of just about everyone I have met here in Uruguay. She is such a stud! She spoke of all the blessings that she receives as she keeps persevering until the end. Then we went out to Young, a pueblo outside of Paysandú, to meet with alfredo. He is a baker who got baptized 2 months ago with his wife. He runs his bakery from the front room of his house. He bore his testimony about how the gospel gave him strength to overcome himself and his natural man. He testified of the process of repentance and the healing power of the atonement. He then explained how there is nothing more important during the week than Sunday. He talked about how before he was baptized, he always thought he could never get along without working Sundays, but ever since he committed to not work on Sunday and to comply with dia de reposo, he has never come up short on money. What he has gained working 6 days has been sufficient for his family. We also visited Lucia. She is an older lady who dedicates her life to taking care of disabled children. She has a daughter who is extremely disabled. She spends all day in bed because she cannot move her limbs as they have all turned stiff, she is blind, and doesn’t speak basically at all. She is 16 years old and is the size of a 7 year old. But she is such an angel. The hermana spoke about how she lives for her daughter. And she really does. She spends 24 hours a day taking care of her. Every Sunday, her son brings her the sacrament so that she can partake of it. She bore her testimony about the importance of always partaking of the sacrament every Sunday. we visited so many amazing people this past week that I wish I had time to write a little about each and every one of them but I don’t have the time to. Sorry! But if you have a little time, go and talk to the converts in your ward and hear their story. It’s probable that your testimony with grow too! 

This week we also found a woman named Laura and her family. And when I say family, I mean a family of 10 children. Ha-ha. It was insane. It was 8:45 at night and we were just about to finish for the night because we had a long walk back home and a whole lot of stuff to plan for the charla fogonera when we decided to keep working in the area we were. The second house we knocked after deciding to keep working, we found her. We had one of the most powerful first lessons I have ever taught in my mission. She explained that she had been searching for the true church but had given up because ever church she went to didn’t feel right and "didn’t fill" her as she said. Well we shared the restauración and the Spirit took the message to her heart. She felt like the joven joseph smith. She related herself directly to the experience that he had. Every single person in the room felt the spirit as she began to pray at the end of the lesson. I have never met someone so sincere in their desire to find the truth. It was so perfect! 

Other things that have happened this past week is that we helped a member move and the son of the familia mederos (quien se llama Daniel también) returned from his mission in Buenos Aires, who is super stoked to go out on visits with us. 

The charla fogonera went off without a problem! it was so great. I feel blessed to have participated in 3 of them! The whole stake loved it and the stake president is excited to have another one in the future. 

We also did some service for president smith this morning. We were just about to start our studies and he calls us to put on some old clothes and run over to his hotel. We get there and he had a popped tire and goes "id do it but I’m in a suit and late to go to mercedes" haha. We changed his tire nascar style and ran back to the apartment just a few minutes late for studies. Oh! And he told us that elder marín and I are going to teach the doctrine of Christ to our stake presidency and high council. So that will be a cool experience. Our relationship with the leaders in the stake is so great. They are supporting us a lot more than they ever have. Things are starting to change in Paysandú! whoop whoop! 

So my spiritual thought this week comes from a talk in sacrament meeting. It was a story that the hermana mederos shared. Ill copy and paste it and you can change the copy for something else if you like:

 A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one would pop up.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire, and soon the pots came to boil. In the first pot she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs and coffee," she replied.  Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  The grandmother then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell she observed the hard boiled egg.  Finally the grandmother asked her to sip the coffee.  The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma and then asked,

"What does it mean Grandmother?"

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water.  Each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they had been subjected to the boiling water, they had changed the water itself.

"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter.

I love this story because it talks about the attitude that we have to our circumstances and how we react to everything around us. We have to learn how to manejar la adversidad, o sea, take control and make the best of it. (sorry, some things work better and spanish and idk how to translate them with the same strength o sentido en english). But how can we make the best out of adversity? One thing we can do is pray. Another is read and meditate in the scriptures. Another is partaking of the atonement al arrepentirnos cada dia y go to the church every Sunday to renew the convenos sagrados that we have taken upon ourselves. This keeps us strong and gives us the strength that we need to remain happy in our adversity. Attitude is everything. Everything starts and ends with your attitude. When life gets too hard to stand, kneel. Never give in. stand for what you know is right. Stick to your morals. And doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. 

I know that Christ lives. And because He lives, we can walk hand in hand with him. Through His infinite Atonement, everything that appears to be unjust with is rectified. He will strengthen us if we permit him to do so. He overcame the world to help us do the same. It is impossible to do it solo. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel to the earth. It is here in its plenitude! I know that the Lord is hastening His work because I can feel it every day! As missionaries today, we are so blessed to be part of this great cause. I know that without members, the missionary work cannot progress at the rate of the Lord expects. The Lord is hastening his work, and now it is just a question if we can keep up! The day has come; it is here, now is the time! Let’s get to work! I love being a missionary! Seriously the best two years! 

Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better! I love you all so much. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and for all you do to support me. I am honestly so grateful. I know that I don’t have a full picture of all that you do for me but I feel it. Thank you!

I love you all so much! 

Until next week!

un abrazo grande, 
Elder Staffieri

Sunday, September 14, 2014

August 26, 2014


This week has been so amazing! I love Paysandú!! So much has happened this past week so I will do my best to try to remember it all!
To start it off, the front door (and only door) to our apartment building broke and it was locked shut. The people in couldn’t come out and the people outside couldn’t get in. So all six of us elders with two other families were locked out until 11:40 at night because there were no lock smiths in the entire city of Paysandú open. So finally, the lady from the second floor came home from work and led us all around half a block from our house, we went through this door on the side of a random building, up a few flights of stairs, and somehow ended up on her back porch, and she let us through her apartment to go up to ours. To thank her, we made banana cake :)
Another cool blessing, we made friends with the bus driver on the bus we take almost every day when we are way far from our house and now he lets us on for free! WHOOP WHOOP! Preaching the gospel is awesome!
Miracle. One Tuesday we were out working with our bishop in our area and as we were walking back from a visit, we stopped to talk to this lady and she had a son who was taking the lessons in salto and moved just before he was going to get baptized. She is a member less active and her husband isn’t a member. They live way far in this little pueblo in our area and she told us about her family of 7 of which only a few are members. Her name is silvana and her sons name is noel. We set up to go out there today in a little bit and we have another family to teach. Talking to everyone brings blessings!!
Wednesday we had conferencia de zona. pte smith came to talk to us and we learned a ton about the doctrine of Christ. As a mission, we are focusing a whole lot more on teaching doctrine simply and clearlyso everyone can understand. The results have been incredible. Elder marìn and I taught about lesson 5. After, pte smith went out with us to work. We went and taught Estela and Laura. We taught about the importance of baptism and about a few of their doubts. One of their doubts is about her granddaughter, morena. She is handicapped and cant walk or speak very well. She is 4 years old, but she is such an angel. She asked why things like this happen to children so innocent and pure. We talked in 3 nefi 11 and explained what Christ meant when he commands us to be like a child and compared it to morena. It was amazing, the spirit was so strong!! And in the end, they both, Estela and Laura have committed to baptism for the 20th of September! Ah it was such an awesome lesson. Then afterwards, we went out to dinner with president and his daughter. Oh! His daughter got her mission call. She is heading off to Spain in December.
This past week we helped elder Mendoza and elder Dietrich move apartments. There is a picture that I will attach that will basically explain everything ha-ha.
We had stake conference this past weekend in all of Uruguay. My companion spoke in the adult session on Saturday to talk about the charla fogonera. And then a missionary mom spoke about preaching the gospel. Then the stake presidency spoke on tithing and offerings and the blessings that come as you do our part to follow the commandments and after wards about Christ and his mortal ministry. On Sunday, we had a satellite broadcast from salt lake that went to all of Uruguay and Paraguay. it was so great. Elder Arnold, Elder Hallstrom, Hermana Splin, y Elder Bednar! wwwooowww. Such a great conference. Elder Bednar spoke strongly about repentance. It was so awesome! It’s going to help Uruguay and Paraguay a ton!
Pte Damiano, our stake president came to our practice this past week for the charla fogonera and gave us some feedback and he helped us out a ton. He talked about singing from your heart and with passion. The importance of feeling what you are singing. And then yelled "HOY ES EL DÍA!!" louder than anyone I have ever heard. I think it scared some of the missionaries haha. And to be honest, it made me feel like I was back on the football field from the way he yelled it haha. What a stud. But it amped us up and helped us out a ton.
The hermana simpson "died" o sea finished the mission yesterday! She is the first hermana to finish in our group. Its kind like a little wake up call for us "hey you only have 6 months left" type of deal hahaha. we went to the bus station yesterday to see her off and she was late and the bus driver told us that he wouldn’t wait, we did all we could and stalled him for as long as we could but in the end, she missed it in the station. So we called the member she was with and she caught it on the route ha-ha so in the end she got on. What a way to finish the mission.
And now for the best news of all! THE FAMILIA MACHADO GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!  AAAHHHHHH!!!!! I was so happy when the assistants called and told me! After working with that family 6 months in Artigas, they finally got baptized! Ah I was so happy! On just 4 weeks after I left! ha-ha. But it seriously made my day. Elder Vasquez sent me a picture that I will attach or send in another email. I cannot stop smiling! I am sooo happy! One of the best feelings in the world.
Being a missionary is so awesome. These are the best two years of my life. Words cannot describe these things. There is just no possible way. I know that the church is true. I know that this is the work of the Lord and He has His hand in every phase of this work. The Book of Mormon is true. The doctrine of Christ is so clear and so perfect. It is the only way to life a happy and full life. It is the only way to return to live with Him. I feel so blessed to have this chance to serve here in Uruguay. I have learned so much from the faith of these members and from the strengths of the Spirit.
Lets all try a little bit harder to be a little bit better this week! Give it all you got!
Les quiero muchìsimo!
UN abrazo grande,
Elder Staffieri